RevHRod writes: "As a child the designation "good" for today confused me. How could we call such a somber day, good? Holy, yes. Blessed, yes. But, good?As an adult I understand the meaning of good for this day. It is a solemn day of remembrance but it is also a time for us to stop and recall the great gift of love that we received this day. And that is most certainly good.Our worship today will differ from place to place. Some services will focus on the great litany of prayers. Others will use the seven last words of Jesus. Some of us will walk the stations of the cross. Others will participate in a Tennebrae service of shadows and light.I hope that this Friday Five will be a meaningful part of your Good Friday. God's blessings to you on your journey."
Our prayer concerns are as varied as we are this day. For whom would you like us to pray? As always, prayers for L, my sweet struggling young friend. His life is not an easy one as he tries to build new ways of being against some pretty formidable odds. Because of his legal history he faces challenges in finding housing (his next big task as his time at CH is up in April). His baby's mom is still not cooperating with visits....there are just so many things that discourage him and cause him to be tempted to pitch it all and give up. So yes, prayers for L on this this day would be much appreciated.
Are there things you have done or will do today to help the young ones understand this important day in our lives? Unfortunately we don't have any kids in our church and haven't for awhile. I have been hanging out with my Presbyterian friends though, and watching how they help the kids understand how much this is all about God's great love for us. That is such a different message than the one I got, that of, "Your sins made Jesus suffer," that I know it is a blessing for them (and for me) to hear the message in this way.
Music plays an important part in sharing the story of this day. Is there a hymn or piece of music that you have found particularly meaningful to your celebrations of Good Friday? Good Friday is so full of childhood memories for me....Stations of the cross, three hours in church even as a grade school kid, it really sticks in my mind.... The music...."At the cross her station keeping, stood His mournful mother weeping" , O Sacred Head" and the chants. The solemnity and the silence. I have memories of times (or I think I do) when the afternoon went from sunny to dark as my mom and I walked home to color the eggs. Now what is meaningful musically is our traditional Stations of the Cross. Our organist is a phenomenal musician and composer. He has written meditations to be played between stations. He makes the organ hiss and moan at points. It is really quite incredible. This year like last we are using the Stations for Global Justice and Reconciliation from EPPN. They connect Jesus' suffering with the suffering of those in extreme poverty and it is so powerful. Since our Lent has been about our MDG project, it all fits.
As you hear the passion narrative, is there a character that you particularly resonate with? It varies. I always feel so sad for Mary, having to watch your child go through all that. But I wonder what was going through various people's minds. Why they acted as they did....
Where have you seen the gracious God of love at work lately? Oh so many places....in all the people who have reached out to L to help be part of his village. In my congregation, where our tiny place (15 average Sunday attendees) by many of them pledging 0.7% of their income raised almost $1900 during Lent toward the eradication of extreme poverty in our MDG project (our second one!) In my own life with the outpouring of love and prayer and support and friendship as I have been sharing my own struggles. In the changes people are able to make in their lives despite great odds....the list just goes on and on. I know we are not quite there yet...but as I have been working on my Easter sermon, what keeps occurring to me is how Jesus is rising and rising and rising in all of this....thanks be to God.